Lowest Energy State

I seem to fall into these ruts where I live my life in the lowest energy state. On weekdays, I go to work, I come home and force myself to make an uninspired dinner, we put Evan to bed, I watch TV and surf around on the internet, and then I go to bed. Honestly, weekends aren’t that much better unless, though we do make more of an effort for Evan’s sake.

There are lots of other things I’d like to be doing – knitting, reading, biking, swimming, hiking, baking, trying new recipes, etc. – but because these take a bit more energy, I tend to put them off because I “need to relax” or “I’m too tired”. So I watch TV or spend time online. But then I find myself wishing I had spent my time more wisely, then I tend to fall into a slightly depressive state, causing me to want to do even less, and around it goes.

In the comments of my last post, Cloud noted that “…your online time is only a problem if it is getting in the way of something you’d rather be doing, or impacting your productivity at work.” My productivity at work has not been impacted, but I definitely feel like my online time (and being in the lowest energy state in general) has been getting in the way of things I’d much rather be doing.

So, to combat this, I have come up with some ideas on how to get out of these types of ruts:

1. Reduce the number of blogs I follow. This makes me feel a bit sick thinking about it, because all the blogs I follow are written by good, nice people. It’s not like they’re writing about stuff that makes me angry or upset. But, following 60+ blogs is hard work and something has to give! Any tips?

2. Knit if I’m watching TV. I figure I’m going to watch TV in the evenings, given SYTYCD and Master Chef are on 3-4 nights out of the week. It’s not like I’m going to give that up (let’s not get crazy here). So, to make that time somewhat productive, I’m going to knit while I watch.

3. Sign up for a class/sport. I need something to get me out of the house and doing something on my own, if only for an hour a week. I’m thinking something like tennis or cooking lessons (I had signed up for kayaking lessons, but it got canceled).

4. Bike rides. I’m going to start riding my bike, beginning with just one day a week. Saturday mornings will be perfect because DH can stay home and take care of Evan (and he has soccer on Sunday mornings, so it’s kind of fair).

5. Limit computer use. I’m not going to use my computer from when I get home until after Evan is asleep. Then, I will give myself time to catch up on blogs, write posts for my blog, and check specific sites. After I’m done, I will turn my computer off, and not just putter around.

I think that’s a good start. Hopefully they will help!

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Comments on: "Lowest Energy State" (16)

  1. I hope those things help- they sound like good ideas! Have you thought about getting a babyseat for your bike so that you all can go on family bike rides? Teddy loves riding on the bike with us:)

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  2. I've been having the same problem this summer. Barely any of the things I'd hoped to do have been touched, but my behind has become extremely well aquainted with the couch! I've been blaming it on not sleeping properly and the heat but those are probably just excuses.

    Re: how to cut back on the blogs you follow…I try to cull my Google Reader once or twice a year. Are there any blogs that you tend to skip over when you check your Reader for updates? Ones where you let the posts accumulate for a while before catching up on them? Are there ones that just aren't being updated that often anymore? I'd start by eliminating those. And remember, if you really miss them, you can always add them back.

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  3. Ash – I definitely want to get a seat or a trailer for Evan. But you're only allowed to use them for kids over 1 year of age (is that the same there, or is North America crazy?).

    Andrea – yeah, the heat has been making it a bit tough this year too. But, like you said, it's a poor excuse. Good tips on the blog cutting. I know there are a few where I'll skip over. What would be cool is if I could get an update in Google Reader every 3 posts or something! LOL!

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  4. I tend to feel the same way when it comes to work — the whole feeling depressed, so I want to do less, so the cycle perpetuates, and it is so frustrating.

    I'm much better at home (probably because I ENJOY the things I do at home). As far as making the most of your time…

    Cutting down blogs is tough. I subscribe to over 400 (lots of food/photography blogs, as well as sciency-type ones), so my reader averages about 700 posts a day. There are a lot that I keep in my feeder and don't read, but I can still search. Let's say I want a blueberry muffin recipe. Even if I “mark as read” all the posts in my “food blog” section, I can still search for it later in my RSS reader, so it's a good way to hold on to things I may not want NOW but might have a use for later. I also have slowly started to unsubscribe to blogs when I know the other person doesn't read mine; blogging is more fun when it has a community feel.

    Definitely combine knitting and watching TV! I never turn on my TV or stick in a movie if I'm not crocheting or knitting. It's become such a habit now, I find TV incredibly dull if I'm not simultaneously doing something else. I also make it an absolute requirement that I always (unless I've been out late drinking after kickball games) give myself 30 minutes before bed to relax by either knitting or reading. It doesn't matter if I don't get home from lab until after 1am; I always give myself those 30 minutes for knitting or reading, and I've come to really treasure them, no matter how tired I am.

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  5. It's commenting on blogs that takes me so much time. I have a rule that I only read blogs through Reader at work so I don't take time to comment while at work. And I only read them when I'm eating so I can justify it as part of a break.

    I used to comment incessantly, but lately I'm not interested in spending lots of time online when I'm home. I wonder if it's partly because grad school is over and lots of things I'd really like to write about are unbloggable. I think my boundaries are tighter these days.

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  6. There is no age minimum here- although there is a weight minimum for the seats and they say they should be able to sit properly:)

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  7. Sugar Scientist – wow, that's a lot of blogs! But, I can see how they would add up if you're using them for reference mostly. I like you're idea of dedicating 30 minutes before bed to knitting/reading. I was also thinking of adding that to my list. Hope work gets better for you!

    EcoGeoFemme – you're right, it's the commenting that takes time. What I've been doing recently is only reading blogs in my reader, BUT if I really want to comment I'll keep them unread and then comment at some other time.

    Ash – I had a look again and it seems like there isn't an actual age limit, but it's suggested. I think I'll hold off and get one for next spring instead (DH isn't super comfortable with the whole idea yet).

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  8. That sounds just like what I've been doing–living in a rut of the lowest energy state. I'm just so tired that I don't do anything that actually energizes me! I'm going to make an honest effort this week with a few things, and I'll let you know if they work!

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  9. rocketscientista – definitely check back in and let me know how it goes!

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  10. Alyssa: I did the “no tv unless knitting” a few years back and that felt much better. Now I don't knit anymore, but have thought about taking some type of “needle work” up since my type A persona liked the “I'm doing something useful”. Truth be told, I have a lot of babies in my surroundings (my friends') and winter is approaching so some kind of knitted blankets or mittens would probably be ok….

    I think 1 and 5 will in combination make sense once you start restricting the internet time. The whole thing I wrote in the previous post (about not having access to twitter/FB/G+ at work) means that the interest for me to comment decreases once I get home since it's not “instant” anymore. Blogs however, I can still have an addiction to.

    Then again, considering my own low posting rate lately I'm guessing my lower amounts of comments have something to do with that?! ^^ Time is of the essence and all. I think the Saturday bike rides sounds lovely!! Go for some “you time”! Hope this weekend is making you feel more energetic!

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Alyssa, these ideas sound great!

    I actually should be doing work in the evening, so I suppose the internet does interfere with my work… Also, I have decided that I want to get more enjoyment from my family time (now I am often just going through the motions) and will be trying hard not to go online between coming back from work and putting kids to bed (once I am back at work). Also, no internet until the dishes are put away at night.

    I like your knit-while-watching-TV idea; I always fold laundry while watching TV and then I do feel better for not being totally useless; this is once or twice a a week though, I will have to find something for the other days.

    Hub said he'd like to take up swimming, if he does I can perhaps negotiate for some time off for myself (a few months down the road, when I am no longer nursing non-stop). We have a treadmill nobody uses, perhaps I should dust it off before I go back to work…

    Fingers crossed for your plans — let us know how it all works out!

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  13. Anonymous said:

    Wow, I'm not alone at wasting my life?! 😉

    I know what you mean about wanting to do more things but also thinking you should relax- although doing many of those hobbies is relaxing too.

    I realize what with a child this might not be easy for you to do, but I personally have to register for some kind of classes to force myself to do the things I want to do. For example, I'll take a knitting class because I find I can't concentrate on tv and knitting at the same time, especially if I have to count stiches. Or I'll take a painting or cooking class for example. There's really no reason I can't do any of these hobbies when I get home (I have not kids, and I'm not the type to clean house every day) but the Lowest Engery State is hard to overcome. When I'm taking a class, I'm paying money and it's at a fixed time, so it's easier to stick to it. Plus it's easier to say to someone at work- “sorry, I have to leave because I'm taking a class” then “I have to leave because I've made a personal date with myself”. I'm always surprised at how much I can accomplish after work when I go to these classes. Otherwise it's: get home, make dinner, watch tv, and go to bed which goes by fast but is way too long of being a couch potato…

    The funny thing though is sometimes if I take more than 2 classes a week, it also stresses me out because then I don't get as much time to veg…

    As for the internet…At my last job, many sites were blocked which caused me to be behind in fb, twitter, and blogs so I had to “catch” up during the evenings. Now, I'm considering getting a smart phone at my new job but I'm a bit worried about having access to the “fun” internet during work hours. But, it's hard to feel part of an online community when you're not up on the latest gossip- but then again, how many people will notice if you're not on top of things either? Plus, I really need to try to meet more IRL people- especially since I will be moving a whole new city and province soon. Hopefully classes will help with that…

    But yes, overcoming LES is quite a challenge…

    A Green Monster

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  14. chall – even knitting something simple like pot holders or a scarf will at least keep your hands busy, you know? Let me know if you start doing it again!

    GMP – yes, folding laundry, ironing, or anything else that doesn't need too much attention is great to do in front of the TV. Definitely strike a deal with Hub to get some time to yourself.

    Green Monster – yes, classes are definitely a good way to do it. That's why I'm thinking of doing that or signing up for lessons. Like you said, it's much harder to shrug it off if there is a specific time AND you have paid for it. Good luck in your move!

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  15. Anonymous said:

    I knit a giant garter-stitch blanket this winter, nothing but garter, no counting except stopping periodically to count rows and realize I still had a billion to go until the next color change. Not only was it the perfect tv knit, I kept having to turn the tv ON to actually finish the project. What I'm doing now is a stranded colorwork project and I can't even have a conversation and knit — too much counting. Somewhere in between is the perfect project.

    Good luck! and thanks for the knitting posts. They're always my favorites.

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  16. Anon – yes, I could see how you would want something in the middle of those two projects! I'm glad you like the knitting posts 🙂 I wish I did more of them!

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